China TEFL Guide
China is now the world’s largest market for EFL teachers and frankly, just can’t get enough teachers. The shortage of teachers has been compounded by the tightening of requirements for working papers. The requirements haven’t really changed (bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification), but the provinces are these days almost all consistently applying the requirements. For many years the rules varied by province and even by the influence of the individual school owner.
Why Teach English in China?
If you want truly to go to an exotic foreign land, China is the place. There is a wide variety of cities, climates, jobs (even sports coaching jobs!) and wages. If you meet the requirements and you don’t find a job in China, you are not even trying.
Wages and cost of living in China
Cost of living can vary widely as Beijing and Shanghai can be quite expensive, especially for accommodation. Some jobs will advertise very high wages for these two cities US$3000 and up, but you will find that you are left to pay for your own very expensive accommodation. Wages and cost of living go down dramatically as you move away from the favorite urban areas, but keep in mind that even a small city in China can have two or three million people.
Public colleges and universities tend to pay quite poorly, as low as 5-6000RMB and sometimes will not even pay for summer or winter vacation. Be sure to read your contract carefully. Wages at the better private schools and language schools can be quite decent when combined with free accommodation, subsidized utilities (no always), reimbursed airfare (at the end of the contract), very low taxes, free medical coverage and more.
Due to the wide variation in wages and cost of living it would be a good idea to ask the school to allow you to contact a current teacher so you can ask them about wages versus cost of living in that specific town. Take the guidance but give it thought as people themselves vary greatly as to how they spend their money and the cost of their lifestyles. This China TEFL guide recommends that you ask two teachers if possible.
China usually hires from abroad and in some cases you will need to apply for your visa from your home country. So if you are in China and find a job, you may well need to go back home to finalize your paperwork. These rules change from time to time, so just follow the guidance of your employer.
Interviews and finalizing the paperwork for your visa on the China side can take anywhere from three to six weeks or even longer. Some provinces are very slow, others are more efficient. Your school can usually predict how long it will take but be careful about quitting your job, selling your house and car, until you have the paperwork in your hands.
We have three pages here with different recruiters and even an internship program that will take people without degrees. Take a look at all of them. This recruiter offers jobs teaching English in China at language schools and other settings. This recruiter does all settings and is good at helping you find a TEFL jobs in China at a university or college. The last program offers teaching internships in China for people with no experience, a degree is not required (difficult to find anywhere these days).
Note: If you do not yet have your TEFL certification, contact us through the chat box on the bottom right of this page and we can get you started in a program and issue a provisional certificate pending your completion of the program.
China TEFL Guide